AE 502 – Expression: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you to use PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS.

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AE 502 – Expression: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

The National Museum has acquired a rare 1813 ‘holey’ dollar, the first currency minted in Australia.

The coin dates back to early New South Wales when the colony faced a currency shortage.

Governor Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish dollars and cut their centres out creating 80,000 distinctive coins known as ‘holey’ dollars and dumps.

They circulated only until around 1822, and by 1822, they started to get recalled, and by 1829, they were taken out of circulation completely, and most of them of course, because they were made of silver, were melted down and reused for other purposes or sent back to England as bullion. So, there’s not that many actually survived.

The museum paid $130,000 for the coin. It’ll go on display next year next to Governor Macquarie’s desk and sword in the museum’s Landmark Gallery.


G’day, guys. What is going on?

I have just popped back from the gym and I am wrecked, I am stuffed, I am buggered. Oh, I did legs day today. So, I’ve been trying to get back to the gym, hit the gym, you know, three or four times a week. Kel’s been coming as well and trying to learn how to swim.

So, there’s a gym up the road that has, like, basketball courts, a swimming pool, and a weights area to do workouts. And so, I usually go to the weights area and try and, you know, run for a little bit, do some free weights, do some weights on the machines, work out, and Kel tries to come up a few times a week and learn to swim, ’cause she can’t swim.

So, obviously, in Australia, that’s a very important thing for us. It’s a very big cultural thing where we learn to swim usually from day one, right, as kids, as soon as you’re born we… like, for example, my niece is getting swimming lessons and she’s not even a year old yet.

So, yeah, that’s been really fun, but I am buggered, I’m wrecked. I got back, did legs, it was legs day, and I’m very tired after doing some squats, deadlifts, and a bunch of other exercises on the machines. Anyway.

That was a bit of an intro, you mob. Welcome to today’s episode. That intro scene was about the ‘holey dollar’, which was something I’d never known about. I actually learned about this only when I started learning about convicts and early Australia thanks to Aussie English. So, there you go.

That was a story from ABC News the YouTube channel is ABC News on YouTube, obviously. Check it out. It is a great resource if you want to practice the Australian accent.

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All of that blah, blah, blah aside, welcome to today’s episode. The expression is ‘put your money where your mouth is’, but before we get into that, let’s do the Aussie joke.

So, the Aussie joke is:.

Why didn’t the 50-cent piece roll down the hill with the 20-cent piece?

Okay? So, why didn’t the 50-cent piece… that coin that is octagonal, I think. It’s got eight different edges on it. Octagonal. Why didn’t the 50-cent piece roll down the hill with the 20-cent piece? Here’s the answer. Here’s the answer.

Because it had more ‘cents’. It had more ‘cents’. Get it? So, we can use ‘cents/sense’ two ways there.

‘A cent’ is one hundredth of a dollar, right. So, fifty cents or twenty cents, right. That is half a dollar, fifty cents, or twenty cents, a fifth of a dollar.

So, we can also use the word ‘sense’, though, if you’ve got some sense, or you’ve got a lot of sense, to mean that you are very clever. Okay? That you are practical and you avoid stupid things, right. You’ve got a lot of sense. Okay. So, that’s the pun there.

Anyway, today’s expression, guys, ‘put your money where your mouth is’. This is from Lima. She suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom Facebook group. Good job, Lima. This is a really good one and she has been vying for the expression… well, to have the winning expression for quite a while now, and she finally got it. Good job Lima.

So, let’s go through and define the different words in this expression. It’s quite a long one, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.

So, ‘to put something somewhere’, you know, put your something where your something is. If you put something somewhere, you place it somewhere, right. Maybe you’re holding something and you put it down, or you put it on something, right? You put it, you place that thing.

‘Where’. I think you guys are going to know what the word ‘where’ means. ‘Where’ is in a location, right. Put your money ‘where’ your mouth is. In this case ‘where’ is referring to the location of your mouth. Okay?

‘Money’. Now, ‘money’ is currency, cash, coins, banknotes. The thing that you used to pay for things, right, to buy stuff. You buy stuff with money. Okay? ‘Money’.

And the very last one, ‘mouth’. ‘Mouth’. I am sure you know what ‘a mouth’ is. I am currently with my mouth. I put food in my mouth when I eat. My teeth in my mouth, my tongue is in my mouth, my gums are in my mouth, my lips are round my mouth. You know what ‘mouth’ is.

So, the expression ‘put your money where your mouth is’, what does it mean? I hope you’ve heard this one before. It’s a good one. It’s a good one.

So, literally, you could say, ‘put your money where your mouth is’, if you’re asking someone to back up what they’ve said with money, right, with cash. So, they’ve said something and you’re challenging them to place a wager on what they’ve said, right, to bet money on what they’ve said being true. So, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.

But, figuratively, it can mean to take action to support your statements or opinions, right. So, the same sort of thing you’re challenging someone to do something or to show that something is true, what they’ve said is an opinion or a statement is true, but they don’t necessarily have to put money down on it, right. They don’t have to wager anything. They don’t have to bet anything.

And also, to show that your actions are not just your words, right. It’s kind of like that expression ‘walk the walk as well as talk the talk’, right? So, you… ‘walk the walk’ is like actually do the physical thing that you had said ‘talking the talk’, right? You always talk the talk, but never walk the walk.

So, usually, this kind of expression is used when you’re challenging someone to prove what they’re saying is true, right. If they’re boasting about something or saying something that you think, mmmm, I don’t reckon that’s true, you might say to them, ‘put your money where your mouth is’.

So, let’s go through some examples of how I would use this in day to day life, okay.

Example number one. Imagine that you are having a bit of a yarn with your mate, right. You(‘ve) got a few blokes over at your house, you’re having a barbie, chilling out, you are having a beer, you’re relaxing, it’s a party, and for one reason or another you’re chatting to this guy who turns it into a competition and starts boasting about his achievements or his abilities, right. So, he’s trying to outdo you, he’s trying to say he’s better than you by saying he can do certain things you can’t. You know, maybe he says, I can do a backflip, you know, or I can do a handstand for 10 minutes. And you might say, if you don’t believe him, well, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? You know, I bet you fifty dollars you can’t do a backflip right here, right now. I bet you fifty bucks that you can’t do a handstand for ten minutes. You know, put your money where your mouth is, walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk, show me that you can do this. I’m… I want you to prove it, okay. Don’t just boast. So, that’s the literal example, right. You’re asking someone to bet money.

Example number two. Imagine you are a girl and you’re out with the girls one night at a nightclub, you know, you’re having a girls’ night out. You’re a single woman, you know, you’re available. You are looking for some kind of man to get to know and hopefully have a relationship with. So, you’re looking for a hunk. That’s a word we use for like an attractive man, you know, and men don’t tend to use that word. Women use that word to define or talk about other men, right. I would never call another man ‘a hunk’ unless I was gay and was attracted to that man, the same way I wouldn’t call another man ‘beautiful’, right. It’s gendered language. Women call men ‘hunks’, and men call women ‘beautiful’, but they don’t use those words on the opposite sexes. So, you’re chilling out with your girls, your mates, your girlfriends, in a booth in a nightclub and you having a few drinks, and this drop-dead gorgeous man walks in, you know, this hunk of a man walks into the club, up to the bar, and he orders a drink. One of the girls might say to you, if I wanted, I bet I could get him to buy me a drink, to which you might reply. well, why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? Go and do it. You know, prove it. Take some action to support your statement or your opinion that you could get this guy to buy you a drink. Go and actually do that right now. Put your money where your mouth is. You know, show us all that you’re right. You’re talking the talk, but we want you to walk the walk.

Example number three. Imagine you’ve got a company that’s always talking about how it puts the environment first and cares about being green and fighting climate change, you know, it’s trying to reduce emissions or it’s donating money to reforest land. However, you find out it’s actually polluting the land a whole lot. It’s not donating anything to fight climate change, and thus, by its actions, doesn’t seem to care about what it says it does. So, you could say, this company never puts its money where its mouth is. The company talks the talk, but never walks the walk. It never puts its money where its mouth is, right. It doesn’t donate this money. It doesn’t do what it says it does.

So, hopefully now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to put your money where your mouth is’. You know, (it) could be used literally to say back up your words with money, you know, place a wager on what you said as true. But it could mean figuratively, take some sort of action to support what you’ve said is true, right, to support your opinion, to support your statement that you’ve just made.

So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys, where you can practice your pronunciation. I’m going to say a few phrases and I want you to listen and then repeat after me. Okay? Let’s go.

To put
To put your
To put your money
To put your money where
To put your money where your
To put your money where your mouth
To put your money where your month is x 5

Good job. Now I’m going to do this in the present continuous tense, okay? We’ll conjugate it and will use the different pronoun so that you can practice these conjugations. Let’s go.

I’m putting my money where my mouth is
You’re putting your money where your mouth is
He’s putting his money where his mouth is
She’s putting her money where her mouth is
We’re putting our money where our mouths are
They’re putting their money where their mouths are
It’s putting its money where its mouth is

Good job, guys! Don’t forget if you would like to go through these different pronunciation exercises with a fine tooth comb and learn a lot more about English pronunciation, connected speech, intonation, all that good stuff, make sure that you sign up at, as today I will have a long video explaining all the different little bits and pieces that are going on here when I speak quickly and fluidly that make me sound a lot more natural. Okay. So, you can sign up and you’ll get access to the video for this episode, the other videos for this this course as well for this episode, and all the other content, all the other past courses as well.

So, Aussie English fact wise. I was thinking, how can I tie in the Aussie English fact today with money, right, because obviously ‘put your money where your mouth is’, that’s the most obvious theme for this expression. So, this is what have me think about the ‘holey dollar’, that ‘holey dollar’, the dollar with a hole in it, from early Australian history. So, I thought about doing a little bit of a fact on currency, money, in early Australian history. Okay? So, let’s go.

When colonists first arrived in Australia establishing a stable and acceptable currency was obviously far from the top of the important to do list of the colonists here.

The First Fleet arrived on Australian shores with only the currency it had onboard the ships, which included about 300 pounds of English coinage. And I don’t know if that’s pounds as in a pound of, you know, unit currency from England, or pound as in weight, which is… what, 2.2 pounds is a kilogram. So, I don’t know which one of those it is.

This money was held by Captain Phillip, and the only other money that was there on the ship and that made it to the colony was a bunch of other foreign currencies that had been brought over in the pockets and purses of officers, sailors, and passengers, a.k.a. convicts or British slaves. So, these other currencies included English guineas, shillings, and pence, Dutch guilders, Indian rupees, that was surprising, and Spanish reales.

So, the fact that numerous different currencies were being used simultaneously was really confusing for early colonists. The value of these currencies often related to their metal content, but arguments, disputes, and disagreements often arose, often took place, when people didn’t agree on the value of these different currencies.

The other issue with currency was the fact that there was a lack of these coins and they were often taken out of the colony by trading ships, ships that came to the colony and then left after selling stuff. And this is where promissory notes came into play.

Promissory notes were signed documents with a written promise that a person would owe the holder of that promissory note a certain amount of money. So, effectively, an I Owe You (‘IOU’), right, I owe you some money. We often call those IOU’s.

So, colonists tried paying trade ships with these notes that promise traders would be able to exchange this for cash payment when they arrived in England. However, as you would imagine, many traders often refused and wanted cash in exchange for the goods that they were selling on their journey.

So, promissory notes were an unreliable way to trade and could be easily forged as well. People could make fake promissory notes, right. I mean, you could have just fake someone’s signature. People often argued about their value, and some used them to pay for goods even though they knew that they could never actually get the money in the future to cover those promissory notes.

And there was even one story of a baker who would take his promissory notes, he’d put them in the oven, heat them up, in order to make them more brittle and likely to fall apart so that the person who received this note would, you know, lose it, it would fall apart, and they could never reclaim what they were owed.

Rum was also used as a currency beginning in 1790. So, rum, as in the liquor, right? Johnny Depp drinks rum on Pirates of the Caribbean. You know, ‘Yar! I’m a pirate and I drink a lot of rum’.

So, it was brought to the colony and controlled by a small group of people who became exorbitantly rich as a result. The issue with rum as a currency was that, as you can imagine, many workers who were paid in rum actually drank it instead of using it to buy goods and services that they needed.

So, the rum trade grew and grew to the point that it became the most popular form of currency in the colony to the point where major building constructions, including the Sydney hospital, were even paid for with rum alone. Only with rum, right. Imagine that! Building a house and only using some kind of liquor or even beer to pay for that house. That’s a lot of slabs, guys. That’d be thousands and thousands of slabs. I can’t imagine that. Remember, ‘a slab’ is 24 beers.

So, the practice of using rum as a currency was prohibited by Governor Blight in 1806 and this decision culminated in the overthrow of the government in the Rum Rebellion. That’s a really interesting story that I might have to leave for another day.

To overcome the shortage of coins, Governor Macquarie, obviously the next governor, came up with an ingenious idea to use 10,000 pounds of Spanish dollars sent by the British government to produce a more stable currency. So, Spanish dollar coins had a hole punched through the middle of them creating two coins, the larger ring-shaped coin or ‘holey dollar’, because it has a hole in it, and the smaller punched-out middle of the coin called ‘a dump’, because it’s obviously being dumped out of the hole, right, in the other coin. Doing so turned 40,000 Spanish coins into 80,000 Australian coins making these coins the first currency to be minted in Australia.

These coins entered circulation in 1814 and they began to be taken out of circulation only eight years later in 1822 and onwards when the government began to replace them with sterling coinage instead. By the year 1829, these coins were completely gone from circulation, and because they contained a large amount of silver, quite often they were melted down and used for other purposes or sent back to Britain as silver bullion, and this makes them incredibly hard to find today and also incredibly valuable. And I actually looked to see if I could buy one of these online and I found one for auction that was $459,000. That is the price of a small house. Mind blowing.

Anyway, guys, it’s been a long episode. I hope you found that interesting. I definitely did when I was researching this episode. I won’t keep you any longer. I hope to chat to you soon and I hope that you have an amazing weekend. See ya, guys.

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